Pilgrim's Progress, Puritan Progress: Discourses and Contexts

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Author: N.H. Keeble
Date: Nov. 1995
From: The Review of English Studies(Vol. 46, Issue 184)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Document Type: Book review
Length: 733 words

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It is Kathleen Swaim's thesis that `Bunyan's Puritan progress - and specifically the patterned differences between parts I and II of Pilgrims Progress - is in various ways a shift of emphasis from the theological and the eternal to the chronological, the temporal, and the mundane, from faith to practice, from individual soteriology to communal ethics, from the sacred Word to the artful similitude' (p. 284). She traces a movement from an early. individualistic and Calvinist Bunyan to a later ministerial Bunyan with latitudinarian tendencies. This shift she associates with the larger cultural and intellectual history of the seventeenth century, a history construed as a forgoing of the dramatic and heroic for the prosaic and moderate: `how did the great age of English exploration end up as the great age of English complacency, (p. 3)?

That something has changed in Part II of The Pilgrim's Progress has been, as Professor Swaim recognizes, a commonplace of Bunyan criticism since early last century. Similarly, her view of seventeenth-century cultural history has been familiar for over half a century, to ecclesiastical historians from Gerald Cragg's From...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A17963269